Business: Conferencing
Meeting's Over   (+18)  [vote for, against]
Put this card down, and the meeting is finito

Being in a meeting all day today, which was reminiscent of Chinese water torture (desperate to pee for hours), it occured to me that if every employee was given a "MEETING IS OVER" card at the start of the fiscal year, a lot more useful business would get done.

Simply lay on table, and...

qv. Monopoly "get out of jail free"

I would have played mine today 10 micro-seconds after my boss said "Today, the theme is empowerment. By the time I have finished this presentation, you will be incandescant with enthusiasm. We are in it to win it. Let's start by analysing our current streams and contribution networks and how they facilitate disemployment opportunities within the framework of unified growth, strategy and commercial fiscality."

Beam me up, Scotty...
-- Skybird, Oct 11 2001

(?) Go home - please http://jobs.guardia...9897,533401,00.html
Businesses recognising presenteeism and the dangers of overwork. [pottedstu, Oct 11 2001, last modified Oct 04 2004]

A medical perspective
Tell your overworking colleagues they're mentally ill. [pottedstu, Oct 11 2001, last modified Oct 04 2004]

The Yellow Card
from the BBC [hippo, Mar 12 2002, last modified Oct 04 2004]

Sounds like he was telling you that you'd just been made redundant. Perhaps you should go back and clarify.
-- DrBob, Oct 11 2001

Too bad you stayed put, Skybird, you missed some great banter about memory mapping over by the shredder. Saved you the croissant … sort of.
-- reensure, Oct 11 2001

A woman I worked with sort of played this card at one of those hideous 'let's motivate employees by pretending they're kindergarten kids and giving them little prizes for good work' brainstorming sessions--she stood up and said that she thought the idea was stupid and the meeting was a waste of time, and then she walked out. The problem of course is avoiding 'negative career repercussions' (ie a big fat ass-chewing from the boss) after playing the card. But I'll vote for it in this here penalty-free environment...
-- Dog Ed, Oct 11 2001

ahhh, the corporate environment. You poor people.

Staff meeting at the farm:
Susen: "We've got two horses coming in tomorrow, one leaving, and I have to go to Kentucky on Saturday."
Jo: "k, leave me a check for the sawdust man and I need to go to the feed store today"
Susen: "Anything need fixed or bought?"
Jo: "We need some lightbulbs for the girl's restroom."
Susen: "I'll get those when I pick up cat litter tomorrow."
Jo: "Great, what movie do you want me to pop in?"
Susen: "Rocky Horror"
Jo: "But we watched that twice last week!"
Susen: "But I'm the boss!"
Jo: "I don't care, I tired of it!"
Susen: "Then you pick one, and not the Matrix again!"
-- Susen, Oct 11 2001

Just proves the point Susen. If you'd worn them down with three hours of bullshit management theory first, you could of been doing the Time Warp yet again this week.
-- DrBob, Oct 11 2001

we settled for Austin Powers: The Spy that Shagged Me. I want my own Mini Me! (WIBNI)
-- Susen, Oct 11 2001

You realise, [Skybird], to implement this strategy, you will have to attend more boring corporate meetings and inevitably, listen to more inane management drivel...
-- sdm, Oct 11 2001

<rant>Meetings that go on too long really annoy me. Most painful things in meetings: (1) No agenda - people just ramble on about all sorts of stuff; (2) People who can't communicate and spend 5 minutes saying what could be said in about 10 seconds; (3) People who like to recap things which have already been said - perhaps because they weren't listening or because they believe that nothing is very important unless they have said it; (4) People who feel that they have to contribute on every single point raised in the meeting; (5) Meetings scheduled to start at 5:30pm just because the Californians who will be conferenced in can't be bothered to get to work until 9:30am.
Ooooh, it makes me angry!</rant>
-- hippo, Oct 12 2001

what [hippo] said.
-- stupop, Oct 12 2001

[hippo], what time do you all tend to get in over there in Blighty? Many of us in the Golden State commute an hour or more and have munchkins to get to school.
-- daruma, Oct 12 2001

I wish [daruma]. Most days I will be in work by 07.30 AM and arrive home somewhere between 20.00 and 21.00. Haven't seen my son (1 Y.O.) for 6 days.

You really appreciate the hidden value that the ability to end meetings without question has when you realise that, whilst waiting for the meeting to begin, the assembled delegates have discussed the usefullness of flossing for twenty minutes.

We have also touched on the gastric piles of one colleague, the talent of trainspotting using a pinhole camera and the asset of spot creme remedies, all without a glance at the agenda.

Finally, the senior manager arrives brimful of tears about how her cat finally arrived home after 3 days on the wander, with only a small scar to his left ear.

We were rapt with attention.

I think they call it hysterical blindness...
-- Skybird, Oct 12 2001

To avoid repercussions, maybe every seat at the table should have a hidden switch. (Just use the "holdup switches" bank tellers have.) When over 50% of the people have hit their switch, the lights and power in the room goes out, and everyone has to leave.

(Butt sensors in the seats to figure out which ones are empty and don't get counted.)
-- egnor, Oct 13 2001

It occurs to me that I have seen a card you can keep in your wallet that could have the exact effect you are looking for. It basically is for someone who is diabetic to give to the police in case of seizure while on the road. It says things like "Please exuse my erratic/odd behavior, I am diabetic". Hehe, kept one in my wallet all through high school.
-- Mojo, Oct 14 2001

Skybird: Bring your kid to the meeting. Claim you couldn't find a babysitter or somesuch. Sit next to whoever called the meeting.
-- nick_n_uit, Oct 14 2001

//then the others in the meeting can request that we got on with the rest of the agenda, and the two of them can finish their conversation later.//

ravenswood: That's called "Taking it offline".

-- PotatoStew, Oct 15 2001

If you have a job which requires twelve or thirteen hour days, you surely can't expect to have a full relationship with your child. If you want a full relationship with your child, you can't commit to a job which requires twelve or thirteen hour days. By taking such a job *and* having a child (in whichever order), you have already made a compromise. Why attempt to blame other people?
-- angel, Oct 15 2001

Absolutely. No-one should have to work a twelve hour day. And if you do, you can't expect to have a full relationship with your child (whether you're a mother or a father. It's just considered more *acceptable*, more traditional, for Dad to be the one that the kid barely even sees for the first seven years of their life). But if you are working a twelve hour day (in the Western business world, anyway) that's a choice you've made. I don't see the argument here.

Unfortunately, as long as there are those who are willing to work ridiculous hours, I fear the rest of us may well eventually be forced to compromise our own standards if we want to get a job at all. I've walked out of jobs because of the unreasonable demands made by management, leaving behind me a host of cowed and whiny co-workers too spineless to do the same thing. Hell, I even walked out of one place (Bank of Scotland) when I was temping there, because of the way they treated their _regular_ staff, because of the way the shop steward stood back and did feck all, and because of the way the workers took it with only a few mumbled complaints. I get pretty fed up when I see the rights that a previous generation fought tooth and nail for being pissed away by gutless white collar lackeys who can't see their own complicity in the gradual erosion of what are now often seen as 'privileges'.

That said, it's not a binary choice of take-it-or-leave-it, ('quit or get off the pot', so to speak). You don't want to tell your boss to shove it just because you had to sit through one too many meetings. (Well, maybe you _want_ to but you know it's not such a good idea). You don't actually want to risk your little luxuries just because you're sick of Powerpoint slides. And maybe you are, by nature, more of a 'craftsman' type than a 'manager' type, so you really don't want to run your own business (I enjoy coding; I don't enjoy dealing with finances). Short of going postal, Skybird's card seems an eminently sensible option to me - a polite, formal way of saying "Wait a second. This is all really a big pile of bollocks, isn't it?" What you really need is a way for people to play their card anonymously. I like egnor's buzzer idea... makes me think...

Actually, how about buttons under the table which set off a nice loud gong. Your boss is halfway through his/her meaningless CorporateSpeak ramble, when TSSSHHH! He/she falters, looks around for the culprit, tries to recover the flow, then TSSSHHHH! Someone else gongs them. They backtrack a phrase, speak a little louder, but TSSSSHHHH! TSSSHHHH! Humiliated and drowned out in the - TSSSHHHH! -crash of gongs -TSSSHHHH! - eventually they - TSSSHHHH! - call the meeting to a - TSSSHHHH! - close. 'Gong Your Boss'. Whaddaya think?
-- Guy Fox, Oct 15 2001

[Mephista]: Yes, I am in that category (and also the 'There are some places where children don't belong' category), but where did what I said get to be a gender issue? It's just as wrong for a man to expect everyone else to cut some slack because of his children as it is for a woman. Why should you get better treatment just because you decided to breed?
-- angel, Oct 15 2001

Wow. //No one should work a 12 hour day//. Tell that to the days average 15 hours. Fortunately, I was not vain enough to feel I needed to reproduce my children aren't an issue.
-- Susen, Oct 15 2001

My last job, we always seemed to end up working till 8 o'clock at night, and 11 if there were deadlines (most of the time). I found a lot of material to leave around the office about the dangers of 'presenteeism' (the practice of people staying at the office for the sake of being seen to be there), about the rise in mental illness, stress, and depression, etc, but the boss just laughed at it, and in the end I left.

There also seemed to be a couple of people in the office who didn't have anywhere else to go, they didn't have many friends and didn't want to go home alone, so they just stayed there. It's one thing if you have to stay at the office because you've work to do (maybe you can take it home), but if you're only there to keep up appearances and avoid looking like an idle slacker in comparison with people who're there for no good reason, then it's ridiculous.

Luckily some companies are seeing that it's counterproductive. In Britain, British Telecom are apparently monitoring timesheets to identify employees who work *too much*. (see link)
-- pottedstu, Oct 15 2001

I generally do nine or ten hour days. Last Thursday was 12 hours 45 because I had a task to finish, and someone else's equipment wasn't performing. That's OK, it comes with the territory, and it doesn't happen too often. Saying that you have to get home to the kids is not acceptable - if you want 9 to 5 hours, get a 9 to 5 job.
-- angel, Oct 15 2001

Susen: point taken. I was thinking more of 'work-for-hire' white collar business-world corporate slavery jobs; from what I've read of your comments elsewhere, sounds like you're a lot happier with real horse-crap than a lot of folks are with the metaphorical stuff. I'd guess that there's work and then there's 'work'. I'll pull an all-nighter happily for my own writing but I'm damned if I'm giving the leeches any more than they've paid for. Comes down to personal choice (and practicalities too (... damn those practicalities)).
-- Guy Fox, Oct 15 2001

If you're doing 40 full hours and you can't do it, then you *can't* do it. Move on, or explain to someone who'll listen. The days of virtual emasculation because you didn't meet some macho asshole's ideal should be over. Work has changed. It now involves a social contract as well.
-- A Farrago Of Calumnies, Oct 15 2001

Sure it does, but it's not as simple or as transparent as a lot of people seem to think. You trade your time and skills for your employer's money, but it doesn't necessarily stop there. (Of course, this depends on the type of work you're doing.) If you go to work with the attitude of "I'm paid from 8:30 til 5:00, and that's how long I'm staying.", I don't think you'll get far, or deserve to. Conversely, if you're prepared to give a bit more, you should expect quid pro quo, and if your employer won't give it, then it's time to look around. It's not just about overtime pay, it's giving your employer the message that you're the sort of person they should be happy to hang on to.
-- angel, Oct 15 2001

Everybody here is right, IMO ... but I also believe that some are more currently "right" than others.

Allowances for work-life balance, commute time, et cetera, are lovely things; but I live in a city in which one of every twenty eligible workers is unemployed, and these things are extremely hard to find. Blissmiss is right. Employers can and will choose the cheapest, most malleable person who fits the job; and they are usually under no obligation to justify their choices.

As for taking children to meetings: my boyfriend once had to take his daughter to a job-interview lunch with a prospective employer. His daughter was polite, quiet, and well-behaved; at six years old, she ordered for herself and did not interfere in the process of the interview. Her dad is aware that he has an extraordinary child; even so, he was impressed -- as was the interviewer.

Perhaps the meaning of work-life balance is not in which priority you honor more, but in how well you demonstrate your ability to honor both.
-- 1percent, Oct 15 2001

[1percent] "Employers can and will choose the cheapest, most malleable person who fits the job"
And they'll get the quality they deserve. Which brings us right back around to the topic: Getting Out Of Pointless Meetings Held By Pointless People To Justify Their Pointless Jobs.
-- phoenix, Oct 16 2001

I like egnor's suggestion of the hidden voting switches, and perhaps they could be coupled with the electrified car seat people in such a manner that with a sufficient number of votes, an electrical charge will be sent into the seat of the person who is prolonging the meeting . . .
-- daruma, Oct 17 2001


We have either turned into our fathers / mothers / bosses or the light of reason and common sense has fluttered, waned and been extinguished forever.

First - I am sorry if I gave anyone the impression I dislike my job. I love it, and the only point I was trying to make (and apparently failed dismally) was that the desire to wrap up direct, confrontational criticsm in corporate 2oth Century Follox has the effect of wasting my time and frustrating me.

I am disappointed that the consensus appears to be that I will have to take my son to work to prove a point.

I miss my son, and daughter, every second I am away from them. I want them to be creative, sensible contributary people who will have an understanding of right and wrong.

I did not choose to be their father to be vain, selfish or righteous, but to create people who I, this is wrong, (it occured to me that I was justifying this to fit in nicely with the ideals of my father!) it was a biological imperative. Sorry, but I am an animal, and this is what we do. I hope I get it right, but I probably won't. Welcome to the human condition.

I will stop whining about this subject because, you are all right. I should do it better and form my own Company, and if I wasn't so afraid of being a failure, then I would. What exactly am I afraid of? Good question, the simple answer is, I am not sure. Failure is a moment of embarresment in a sea of dreams. Maybe I am just too tired. Nah.

It just seems to me that we spend so long looking to cloak the truth in hyperbole and rhetoric that we have lost our fundamental right to say - "good job, bad job"

And I have my own Mini Me. His name is Jack, and he will never be as weak and spineless as his father...

I will make sure of it.

i think....
-- Skybird, Oct 18 2001

'It is not yet polite to use electric stun guns on fools. However if enough people do it, it becomes acceptable based on the principle of "common usage"' - Dogbert

i think most peple would classify meeting-elongaters as fools
-- chud, Mar 10 2002

High-maintenance fools.
-- reensure, Mar 10 2002

Good idea! Lets just put the card on the door before the meeting ever even starts!
-- blainez, Mar 12 2002

Nearly baked. The BBC (see link) now allows employees to whip out yellow "Cut the Crap" cards during meetings.
-- hippo, Mar 12 2002

I run my own company and I find that time spent doing a thing is not in any way related to the adequacy or thoroughness of the thing done.

I think I'm going to set up an employee meeting with the agenda "proposals that will let us get out of here an hour earlier every day".
-- IvanIdea, Mar 12 2002

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